Mertensia – Virginia Cowslip, Perennials Guide to Planting Flowers
Perennial Flower Information
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Cenothera – Evening Primrose, Sundrops
The Evening Primroses are among the truly beautiful plants which anyone can grow in his garden. The plants grow from 1 foot to 2 feet high, spreading out and producing many satiny, Poppy four-petalled flowers of white, light rose and varying shades of yellow.
SPECIES. Cenothera fruticosa and its varieties, Fraseri and Youngii, have rich, golden yellow flowers produced freely from June through September. It is one of the most commonly seen Evening Primroses, growing 2, feet tall.
C. speciosa is the commoner white sort, of “lazy looking habit;” the unopened buds are drooping. The flowers, as they mature, gradually turn pink. The leaves are divided.
C. missouriensis. This startling species produces golden flowers, 5 inches across, upon low, trailing plants. The flowers are followed by large, winged seed pods, so large for the size of the plant that they seem unnatural. The foliage becomes reddish in the Autumn. This sort is sometimes catalogued as C. macrocarpa.
C. biennis and C. Lamarckiana are biennials which have become weeds in most gardens and for this reason they are not greatly admired although they are praised in European catalogs for their height and wealth of yellow blooms.
These plants open their flowers toward evening and close them in the morning, hence their common name. Most of them, however, are open through the day as well as during the evening.
UTILIZE. Evening Primroses are handsome plants for the rockery, for the border and for bedding designs. The flowers are fragrant and therefore are useful as cut flowers. They are beautiful when massed in front of shrubbery or planted in the wild garden, for the clusters of flowers are very fragrant and the bees are always around them.
GENERAL. Cenotheras sometimes become “weeds” because the plants spread fast: They grow well in any ordinary situation, in welldrained, moderately rich soil. They need moisture and the soil should be prepared as deeply as it is possible to get good moisture. The clumps need not be transplanted often.
PROPAGATION. Many of the species increase by producing small tufted plants at the base of the old ones. When the plants are divided it should be done in early Spring, in March or April. They are easily grown from seeds.